Tips from a Pro 10

Atlas Life Building, Tulsa


Let’s be clear up front. I’m not the pro in question. Far from it. Of course, that didn’t keep me from writing a book “about” running when I’m not half the runner I think I am in my fecund imagination. In there, in the sunny green fields of make-believe, I am also a supermodel and scholar.

But I do know one thing: if you get access to an expert, make use of it. So when the Tulsa Blogger Meetup scheduled a visit with PR wunderkind Mandy Vavrinak, I wanted to hear what she had to say about strategizing and marketing and all that fun stuff writers love to do. We don’t really love to do that stuff. Some of us pretend magical marketing elves will come out at night and whip us up some good press and contacts, like the tailor’s mice. Alas.

Mandy was fun and fantastic. Here’s some of her wisdom:

  1. Pay attention to trends and write about them.
  2. Find trends via pinterest and other curating sites.
  3. Know about prweb, pitchengine and prnewswire
  4. Know how to package your material: to that end make it visual, keyword rich, topical and on trend.
  5. USE GOOGLE ALERTS: it’s free, easy and important.
  6. Use google to find search terms to tie to your blog posts.
  7. Title everything you post, even if the title remains hidden, including images.

I confess, part of these seem a little too polished to me. I get hives thinking about SEO searches and terms like “keyword rich.” I also understand that with so many people telling so many stories, the ability to use resources can help a writer, or a blogger, or an artist or a… stand apart and extend her reach.

My pro tip here, since I can’t resist: Enlist help with these efforts. Ask questions and be willing to look goofy. Thanks to Chad Thomas Johnston and Jenn Riley for their help with my book.

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10 thoughts on “Tips from a Pro

    • Jennifer Post author

      I felt like a fish out of water, for sure. The people who attend these are people blogging on a certain topic. I think as a writer who blogs for different reasons (I guess that’s the best word here), I didn’t know most of this stuff. But, as one who is pushing her book, I found it most helpful. Think you might incorporate some of the ideas? And, yeah, I like your knee-jerk posts.

  • Kristin T. (@kt_writes)

    Yeah, reading about this stuff makes me anxious, too. I just feel so overwhelmed, and I also don’t want to lose sight of what’s personal and passionate in my writing. In other words, if I worry too much about traffic and writing about topics that are “hot,” the real me is in danger of getting lost.

    Of course, there’s probably a nice happy medium—a way to write about “my stuff” and still be smart about keywords and such. If only I had time to figure that all out… 🙂

    • Jennifer Post author

      When the speaker asked: “Who writes, edits and then posts?” I raised my hand, and then felt like a complete fool. She told the bloggers (who like I said in reply to Shawn) who are specific topic writers geared toward a niche audience, “Don’t do that. Ever again.”

      I wondered about the overlap for someone like me, or you, who writes for different reasons. So, I asked her. She promised an answer. It shall be forthcoming. Interested? I’ll be happy to pass along. Yes. It does take time and seems so marketing machine like. Where is the balance?

  • Jennifer Post author

    She was saying that bloggers need to be using words in their posts that are keyword-rich. She suggested that before publishing, searching for like terms and then using them in the post. So, if I understood her correctly, if I write a post on running in Tulsa, then I go do a search for “Tulsa running in winter” or “training for marathon in Tulsa” and then make sure I use the most popular words/terms that come up in that search in the post.

    I have a question about that in her inbox, and she promised to get back with me. I’ll report my findings. But again, Idelette, I was sort of put off by this; I understand the importance of making posts search term friendly. It just seems so anti-creation. I wonder if there’s a difference between, let’s say, food bloggers and people who commented here: mostly writers working on different aspects of publishing.

    Got any thoughts?

  • Alise

    I write about current events when they’re something that I care about. I write pretty regularly about LGBT issues anyway, so if something big happens there, I’ll often write about it.

    I don’t really understand “titling.” I know that on SEO “graders” my site usually comes up lacking there, but I don’t really get how to do it, so there’s that.

    Mostly, I have simply tried to build my site through relationships & writing stuff worth reading. Which means that it grows more slowly than some, but it’s working for me.

    • Jennifer Post author

      Yeah, you do write about politics and society more than I do, and well, I might add. And you are also very open and inclusive, so you’re doing something right, girl. You can see some of my above comments about how this translates to writers with books or other content rather than bloggers in a specific genre.

      My friends, Kelly Kinkaid and Melanie Nelson tell me that if one wants to learn how to do it, one needs to invest in Momblog SEO’s book. Which you can find by searching either of those blogs.